Drinking Water Quality Testing #122099 - Ask Extension


Drinking Water Quality Testing #122099

Asked April 17, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT

We just re-built a house in Wallingford, PA. It has a new copper water service from the Public water line in the street (Aqua-PA) and then transitions to PEX throughout the house. The entire system was replaced - nothing from the existing water system was left in place. My problem: when any of the faucets are initially turned on after as little at 8 hours of non-use (i.e. overnight), we get a distinct chemical odor. The odor lasts for about 30 second or the time it takes to flush the line and get "fresh" water from the street. The plumbing contractor thinks it smells like "vinyl" and I would say it has a very sharp, pungent chemical smell that really stays in the nostril. Anyway, I need to get the water tested to figure out the origin of the smell. I am wondering if the PEX is leaching a chemical or degrading for some reason. The house is 4 months old. The "smell" has lessened at faucets that are frequently used such as the kitchen sink but after a long period of non-use, such as a weekend out of town, it returns. Does the PS Extention do this kind of testing? If not, can you refer me to a testing agency?

Delaware County Pennsylvania

Expert Response

The Penn State Extension Water Lab cannot help you with this issue. We are thinking that this piping should not be affected by corrosive water and it is more likely that a solvent may have been used on the pipe and this is causing the problem. So you are probably looking for a volatile organic chemical. We would recommend that you go to www.watercheck.com which is the National Water Testing Lab and do the water test called "watercheck" that does NOT include the pesticide check. Once the results come back please contact the Penn State Extension water Resources Team for help in interpreting the results.  
James Clark Replied April 18, 2013, 2:45 PM EDT

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